Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Good Day

Sunshine, cool breezes and a visit from friends make for a really good day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

No News Is #@% News

As I’ve mentioned before, no news from me generally means things aren’t going particularly well. I’ve been running on empty these past few months, feeling down in the dumps, with very little energy and nothing much to say. I blame the long gray winter for my gloomy attitude, but springtime presents its own set of challenges too.

This week, we had what most people would consider a perfect spring day. The sunshine was gorgeous, but the heat caught me off guard. Temperatures in the low 80’s warmed the house up just enough to send my MS into overdrive. Fists clenched, arms and legs rigid with spasticity, I was virtually paralyzed until my husband came home from work and turned the ceiling fan on to cool me down.

Oh, what a delicate balance is required to keep me functioning. Let me write and post this quickly while the temperature and humidity are low and the stars and planets are aligned!

I’ve got a new springtime quilt to share. It was inspired by one made by Marian Edwards, whose beautiful blog is a must read for anyone interested in antique and reproduction quilts, especially of the small variety.

What struck me about her charming quilt, made from bits and pieces left over from other quilt projects, was that I had similar bits laying around my sewing room:

a single Dresden Plate block,

a few flowers that might look cute as corner blocks,

and some precut strips of 1930’s prints.
(Click photo to enlarge)

It was sheer coincidence that my “bits” were made from coordinating fabrics. They absolutely begged to go into the same little quilt. My friend, Kathy Smith, assembled the pieces, adding her own special touches like the blue and lavener flowers, Rail Fence blocks, and lovely hand quilting.

(Click photo to enlarge)

I've named the quilt Garden Maze, for the labyrinthine pattern created by the strip pieced blocks. It measures 27” square and is backed with the sweetest floral print of jonquils.

I could never bear cutting into this fabric, so it’s nice having a large portion in tact.

Cats really are drawn to quilts like magnets, aren’t they? Our grand kitty planted himself on the quilt as we tried to take pictures. I love the way his little tippy toes rest right at the edge.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birthday Treats

What’s sweeter on a birthday than cake and ice cream? How about a new doll quilt from my friend Barb!

I’ve mentioned before about our tradition of swapping doll quilts on birthdays. Half the fun is the anticipation, knowing exactly what the gift will be, yet trying to guess which pattern and fabrics Barb will surprise me with.

This year’s quilt is a Courthouse Steps Log Cabin, made from double pinks and shirting prints that both Barb and I love.

The pastel fabrics and very feminine look make it a unique addition to my collection of little quilts. I just love it!

Each little log measures ¾”.

Of course, there’s always a surprise on the back of the quilt too. This time it‘s Parisian advertising labels ~ so pretty!

There were birthday treats from other friends as well. Terri baked a tray of mini cupcakes, using this classic Chicago restaurant recipe. They were moist, light, and way too easy to pop into your mouth whole. Kathy delivered a delicious comfort food dinner, and when Linda visited a few days later, she couldn't have known that the peppermint ice cream she brought would be used as a prop in a photo shoot (or that she‘d be enlisted as photographer).   

Thank you, dear friends, for all you do to make my little world a pleasant one. Wishing you lots of sweet things, Diane

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is not the blog post I hoped to start the new year with. My dad’s health has been declining since Christmas and sadly, he passed away last week. He suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel combination of the cognitive challenges of Alzheimer’s and the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep while in the care of hospice. He didn’t suffer; he didn’t linger and for that we are grateful. We knew he was failing and tried to prepare ourselves for his death, but, of course, you never really can. Saying goodbye was difficult, even though we’ve been doing it a little bit at a time over the last several years. He was a fine man, a great dad and grandfather, an all around good guy.

Not to make light of it, there is a quilt connection here, in the therapeutic value of turning to needle and thread in times of grief. During the mid 1990’s, we lost several family members and friends: a beloved aunt and uncle, my dear brother and his partner, a favorite teacher, and the owner of the quilt shop where I worked. In the midst of it all, I also received my diagnosis of MS.

It was tempting to wallow in self pity, but I knew I had to overcome depression and despair for my health and family’s sake. In true “fake it till you make it” fashion, I turned to quilting to help lift me out of the doldrums.

Gathering scissors and fabric scraps, I simply went through the motions of cutting squares and strips with no thought to color, print, or measurement. I’d take fabrics as they came, give them a casual trim, and put them in piles of lights and darks. When I had enough pieces to run through the machine, I sewed them into log cabin blocks.


What started out as mindless sewing became a prayerful experience. “Snip, sort, sew” was my mantra. The quiet focus and familiar routine helped soothe and heal my broken spirit. 

The result is a mourning quilt, a sort which holds a time honored place in the history of quilt making.

There’s also a connection between my log cabin quilt and one recently completed by my friend Barb. I remember a quilt gathering at Barb’s house in 1995 where we compared blocks. It’s funny that both quilts have taken so long to complete.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Long before the existence of the Internet, where we find information within seconds of a Google search, there were things we just had to patiently wait for. One of them was the annual NPR broadcast of humorist John Henry Faulk‘s “Christmas Story.” Sitting by the radio, anticipating his tale of a sweet, simple Christmas, became as much a holiday ritual as hanging up stockings or decorating the tree.

We lovingly dubbed the story “Sandy Claus and the Stripedy Candy” because of the narrator’s rich Texas drawl and it is for this reason that I recommend you listen to the story rather than read it. The dialect adds to the charm.

I can find this broadcast Online any time I want now, but wonder sometimes if it was the waiting that made it so very special. See what you think. Find a few quiet moments to share the story with your family.

Wishing you love, joy, and a merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I’m not usually one to check blog stats, but I couldn’t help noticing that my page views skyrocketed (709!) the day Wanda linked to my post about the Zig Zag quilt. WOW, what a following she has, deservedly so! My inbox was full of accolades, and I thought about how validating it must be for her to read so many lovely comments, each and every morning.

I also got to thinking, do you as a blog follower, read the comments that accompany your favorite posts? I do; there’s some good stuff there.
Have a great day!

Monday, December 3, 2012

You’ve Got Mail

A package arrived on my doorstep,

and even though I was expecting it and knew what it contained,

I wasn’t prepared for the color and texture that exploded from the box, as I opened a quilt from Wanda Hanson.


It’s a Streak of Lightning quilt, the latest of many Zig Zag quilts Wanda has made. I’m crazy about this pattern and watched with interest as the project progressed, finally asking if the quilt was spoken for. It was not, and Wanda graciously gifted it to me.

The hand dyed fabrics sparkle and glow like stained glass and I just can’t decide which combination of vibrant colors is my favorite.

It covers me perfectly from nose to toes and is just wide enough to keep me warm without entangling my arms in extra quilt.

Whether I’m snuggled under the quilt or admiring it from across the room, those colorful zig zags make me smile. Thank you, Wanda, for a gift that warms both my body and soul.

  Details and Links
~36” x 63”
~Zig Zag quilt tutorial by Sujata Shah, The Root Connection
~Hand dyed cotton fabrics by Vicki Welsh